Friday, March 14, 2014

Be reconciled!

"Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother..."
Matthew 5:23-24
I never met my aunt on my mom's side.  Mom had one sister and I never met her.  The reason was because my mom and her only sibling were estranged from each other for forty years.  It was some quarrel about the care of their mother, but the price of it was forty years of estrangement and a result was I never met my aunt.  I only met her son, my cousin Steve, when we found each other on-line many years later.  Thanks be to God, the two sisters reconciled with each other shortly before my aunt died in the early 80's.  In the late 90's, when my mom had a serious stroke and lost all sense of time and reality, she spoke of her sister often.  Weezie had been there for breakfast she'd tell me.  Weezie sent a box of pretty blouses she told me, after I'd complimented the one she had on.  At the end of her life, it was her sister who kept her company in her tiny room in Assisted Living.  I was so glad. The price of a lack of forgiveness is painful and sad. Jesus knew that forgiveness was crucial for our spiritual well-being.  No more eye-for-an-eye in Jesus' teaching.  Get past whatever-it-is that separates each other.  If there is someone you are quarreling with reach out to them...soon.  Think of it as a Lenten thing if that helps.  Think of my mom and her sister who missed out on each others lives for so long...don't let that happen to you.  Love, heidi

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Answered prayer

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Prayer is the ointment that keeps our spirits flexible in the hands of God."
Fr. Joseph Sica, "Forty Days of Hope and Healing"
"Pray-As-You-Go" asked the question this morning, "What is your experience with God answering your prayers?" Well, I would have to say that God is on a different time table than I am.  When I look back and see the cycle of me praying and then God answering, there is often a huge gap of time! The prayers were answered, though not as I wanted, necessarily, but I can see that the ultimate result was very positive.  So, God's way of answering is a bit slow, but always worth the wait! Thus, the excellent advice about being flexible. What about your history of answered prayer?  It's a wonderful exercise to sit with God and ponder, heidi

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What is life-giving?

"...the word repentance in Greek simply means a turning around.  Turning away from what is not life-giving."
Patricia Livingston, "Living Faith"
As we celebrate completing a whole week of Lent, this is a reassuring thought.  We are not asked to repent or turn away from things that nourish and help us. We are being asked to turn away from that which isn't good for us or doesn't edify us. Let's think about the things that we do in spite of knowing they are not life-giving.  Unnecessary buying, shopping, loading up on stuff? Sitting like a zombie, mindlessly in front of the TV? Spending hours on the computer, just lost in link after link after link? What seems to suck our time away from us? What is it that may keep us from being more productive? What is keeping us from moving closer to God? What is it that keeps us from feeling better about ourselves?  That is what Lent is all about, Charlie Brown. Letting go of what is not life-giving and turning towards what is.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Presence of God

"Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful..."
Isaiah 55:10
A friend and I were talking the other day about where people see the presence of God.  There are so many unique and individual ways! Many people see the presence of God in mystical things, such as statues that weep.  Many people see the presence of God in the Eucharist, as we Catholic believe in the True Presence of God there.  I mentioned to my friend that I was digging in my flower bed over the weekend and the new life I see there right now is the presence of God, renewing the earth.  So obvious to me is God in the tiny green sprigs poking their brave little heads above the soil.  I even found a beautiful, fat worm working his way through the earth, nourishing and aerating my garden...oh the joy of that!  God is present in so many ways, as unique as the individuals witnessing this Presence!  Today, let's make a conscious effort to see God in our world and tonight, let's take some quiet time and jot down where we witnessed the presence of God in our world, in our day.  Love, heidi

Monday, March 10, 2014

Resist temptation!

"At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil..."
Matthew 4:1
We had a wonderful homily on this reading Saturday night and I spent much of my prayer time yesterday sorting it all out.  The question is, are we similarly tempted in our daily lives, and, if so, how can we resist the temptation like Jesus did? Yes, our temptations are very similar, even though we may not be tempted to turn stones into loaves of bread.  But we can be victims of our own self- control (or lack of it), aren't we? The devil tempted Jesus to take the easy way out...cut to the chase, show his glory immediately, without going through the three years of doing it God's way.  We are tempted to take the easy way, too, at times aren't we? Who wants to plod through years of suffering and trial when we could take the easy way out? And how do we resist? First, Jesus was centered on who he was.  He was the Son of God, as explained on the day of his baptism.  Jesus centered himself on his Father and never forgot his mission was God's mission.  Second, Jesus knew the scripture and relied on it to combat the devil.  Each time the devil tempted him, Jesus quoted scripture.  And finally, Jesus just told the devil to be gone.  As Fr. Gorman used to say, "Tell the devil to go to hell, where he belongs." So, yes, we have similar temptations in our twenty-first century lives. Doing it God's way or the way of the world. And yes, we can resist, just as Jesus resisted.  By knowing who we are, centered in God, knowing our scripture and where to turn, and telling the devil to get lost.  Blessings on your Lenten Monday.  Love, heidi